MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
A ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly constructed Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Main Gate Access Control Complex was held Jan. 24., and is said to be the completion of the final phase of a large construction project geared toward improving the base’s access control points and their associated road networks, according to base officials.
Base personnel will get a taste of just how much the ‘Welcome to Camp Lejeune’ experience has improved Saturday, Jan. 28 at 5 a.m., when the new main gate and visitor center officially open to the public.
“As you know, we have thousands of visitors every month that come through the base and we’re hoping this makes our process more efficient,” said Col. Daniel J. Lecce, commanding officer of MCB Camp Lejeune. “A lot of money is being poured into the modernization of this base and this is a huge improvement for access control and security.”
Lecce said although the new gate and visitor center won’t inherently improve traffic, they are definitely a step into the future for MCB Camp Lejeune’s infrastructure.
“It doesn’t allow us to add more volume onto the base and we still have the same number of gates,” said Lecce. “But, it’s been a long time coming. It’s a modern gate, with modern security upgrades. We now we have two facilities that issue passes on base, which should increase customer service greatly.”
Lt. Col. Robert Stanford, the base provost marshal, said some of the many upgrades to the complex include improved security, greater stand-off distance, modernized facilities, and enhanced customer service.
The new visitor center (Building 818) boasts 1,900 square feet of space, eight stalls to service patrons, additional lobby space for overflow, 79 parking spaces, including ones for autos with trailers, and four additional spaces reserved for the handicapped. Unlike the old visitor center, the new one will now process visitor passes and Department of Defense new vehicle registrations all under one roof.
Other small details such as a television, drinking fountain, vending machines and more bathrooms have been included to make the waiting experience more tolerable.
“There won’t be one line for decals, another line for something else,” said Stanford. “People will be able to just get in line and be helped with whatever they need. Building 60 handles vehicle registration, so they used to have to get a visitors’ pass just to get there. (Bldg. 60) will still be able to issue decals, but it will be for those who need to renew their decals as opposed to get a new one. If you’re transferring from another base and already have a sticker, you can go either place for a new one.”
Stanford added the old visitor’s center will be renovated to serve as a contractor access control point at a later date.
The new gate entrance features a canopy over incoming and outgoing traffic, and a whole host of security improvements. While the construction of the new gate will do little to decrease the amount of traffic on NC-24, Stanford said the increased stand-off distance will prevent more cars from cueing on NC-24, especially during non-peak hours.
“Modernizing our access control is part of the comprehensive evolution of the base and this is yet another step to that (process),” Stanford said, adding the new base entrance near the intersection of NC-24 and Bell Fork Road is slated to be complete in 2014.